Sunday, June 28, 2009

Southern Escapade

A cool and clear morning when I woke today, I headed south to ride some of my favourite roads with my friend and ride partner from Alstonville NSW.

I think I have finally managed to get a clothing combo that keeps my upper body warm. Today I was using a close fitting base layer technical thermal shirt from Lowe with a plain cotton t-shirt both tucked into my BMW city pants. Over this was a windproof micro fleece vest from Mountain Design and my Alpinestars lined leather jacket. I also had my trusty Buff neck scarf but really didn't need it as the vest could be zipped up to just under my chin. It is also long and has elastic draw strings in the bottom to ensure it is snug to keep wind out.

Numinbah valley

I had a bit of an off day behind the lense to begin with. Stopped a couple of times in Numinbah valley as I wanted to do some photography but alas today I failed to frame my photos well or capture how spectacular the rocky cliffs on either side appear as you ride through.


I saw a group of riders from Brisbane Bikers forum go by at one stop, I had considered joining that ride since I was going to be in the same area however I prefer to do my own thing at a relaxed pace now days which encourages me to stop and take out my camera as I wish.

On to Uki then over to Stokers Siding to have a rest and a coffee/chat. Funny moment - riding over Burringbah I saw a rider come up beside us on a new sports bike, all of which look the same to me currently - we are in the dual lane uphill section and all 3 bikes enter the corner and this rider is now hanging off knee down in front and I glance to the speedo thinking surely we are not going fast. Its showing under 100kph and I had a small laugh in my helmet. Here we were riding steady along and in the next lane it's MotoGP in slow motion :-) . No disrespect intended to the rider, just me showing my age. The things that once seemed 'cool' sure start to look funny.

A few of the motorbikes bunched up going down the range at no more than 60k for some unknown reason so we slipped by and continued merrily on our way. After a stop at some road works on the Tweed Valley Way we saw a huge snake leaving Billinudgel lying across the old Tunnel road. Then a more or less car free ride on to Mullumbimby for fuel and then via Repentance Creek road and the back road into Clunes cafe for lunch.

Eureka. No fuel has been pumped here in a long time.

On the return after Eureka and Federal I went via Coorabell - these are all fun roads that wind their way through the many Macadamia nut plantations in the area south from Mullumbimby. I have mentioned it before but I named this blog after this area as you can more or less take any road and enjoy wonderful riding through scenic patchwork rolling hills.

I zig-zagged back via the various back roads which service the farms that the new highway cut through before returning over Currumbin range - always a great ride to end a day with.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Thank you

I previously mentioned I had been contacted by Alpinestars who noticed my fitting troubles with their boots. Just that contact in itself I found pleasing however I want to update readers on this further.

I was again contacted by Tim from Alpinestars who offered to send a pair of new straps out to me to try and I was very happy about this however when I opened the package I was overwhelmed to find not only the straps but the following items inside.

This really was unexpected and some of the best customer service I have had the pleasure to experience. I am heading out for a ride Sunday with the new straps fitted.

Very happy!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Bonang Road

The road from Bombala to Orbost is one of the best rides in the country in my opinion.

Sweeping grand high plains road, a little bit of gravel then 105km of non stop corners down to Orbost. Bombala is a destination in itself, great history and affordable pubs and of course the major bike show of the country held there every year. Then to the ride itself, the gravel is easy and then you have a mixed bag of road surface. If you have your suspension set compliant for aussie roads not the race track then you should not be bothered. I never even noticed it myself but have read sports bike riders saying it was bumpy. A must ride road.






Australia’s Best Motorcycle Roads - Four Mountains NSW

The area near Bega NSW has some excellent riding. Some call it the four mountains riding area.
Leaving Bombala I rode some of these roads and they were superb.
First I rode to Wyndham via Cathcart. This was a magic road even though I could not capture it in photos.
Then I rode over Mount Myrtle, another great ride, below I stopped at the lookout.
Then I rode along the Sapphire coast road and I could have also ridden Brown mountain which is part of Snowy Mountain highway. All three of these roads have their own post on the blog.
I missed out on Inlay road and by all accounts it is also good with nice sweepers.


Falls Creek

Another ride I wanted to report on post the Buell Muster was the road to and from Falls Creek. From Omeo it has just been sealed all the way to the top and makes a tempting alternative to the Great Alpine Road.

I think most people know the road from Omeo to Anglers Rest has many nice corners and the road to the north of Falls Creek is also frequently spoken about so really all that was needed is this last bit of tar.

I am very much am looking forward to riding this road later in the year but in the mean time just wanted to post a quick word so other people can also consider visiting this summer.

More informantion to come.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Bunya Mountain

I didn't think today's ride would be such a big one - however that's what it turned out to be when I decided to ride to a new destination.

I left a little late at 8.00am after not being able to decide what to wear for this mornings chilly temperature. The textile jacket with it's zip in quilt liner and zip in nylon water and wind liner you would think would work better than my quilt lined leather jacket however despite bulked up to look like the Michelin man I was still cold at more than one stage last two outings. I decided then to go with the leather and use some technical layers underneath namely a coolmax moisture wicking base layer shirt and a additional base layer windblocker type shirt. Both are close to body snug fitting long sleeve shirts which given I have put on a few kilo's since last winter were almost too snug. I still felt some cold drafts and really need a full winter jacket.

Riding North is not something I do often these days which is a shame of sorts as everything is quite close to me from the CBD. I was going to ride out via Mt Glorious but the thought of the wannabe racers and overzealous police ruled that out so despite not really liking Mt Mee either these days it won.

Clear Mountain

I didn't fuel up leaving town and thought I would do so at Dayboro or D'agular however I made it to Kilcoy as my first stop which surprised me, but its really not that far away. I guess that's why the sports bike riders like the North so much as I know when I used to ride sportsbikes I had a much smaller range before comfort and fatigue became a issue.

The Kilcoy bakery forgot my coffee order then gave me incorrect order - I am going to start a series on my misadventures in coffee, this is two for two. I rode on to Blackbutt and visited where my parents had a property at one time and then on to Yarraman and took a look over the old railway station and had an early lunch at the Timbertown Cafe. The food was average and the coffee was poor however I was glad I did eat then and there as it was a long ride over the Bunya Mountain.

Four warning signs - but they are not kidding it's steep.

Riding South from Yarraman on the start of the New England then west to Maidenwell to the start of one of the ways to climb the mountain. This road has about 3 km still unsealed, it was very good surface and easy to ride. After the dirt there is a near new road surface which has some nice sweepers before it climbs very steeply up the side of the mountain where you should stop to see the amazing view to the North before proceeding.

Looking North

Looking South

The road up top is narrow in places before widening for a section along the ridge before becoming very narrow at the western descent - its so narrow dark and twisty that it is not very good to ride and try to share with cars. The road is heavily shrouded by trees making it seem like semi darkness with a tinted visor. I returned down the south eastern descent which is quite good. Some tight corners and switchbacks but the surface is wide enough not to be dangerous and visibility is ok. At the bottom you have a section of newish road with a number of sweepers that reminded me of lower northbrook parkway.

Southern descent
Then it was a long zigzag back to Crows Nest to find there was no fuel and I was on reserve so I had to go via Hampton rather than Lake Perseverance back to Esk and last of all over Mt Glorious and Mt Nebo to finally get home by 5.15pm.

Today's route.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

The Tablelands Way

This is an excellent route which really can be separated into two defined riding roads, the Bylong valley way north of Bathurst I will write about elsewhere. From Oberon to Goulburn the road that used to have some gravel has became a popular riding road and the government came up with the name Tablelands way.

Very scenic with terrific views riding along the ridges. The town of Taralga has a nice historic pub and Oberon has many good cafes.





Wednesday, June 03, 2009

New Gloves

I have been using these new gloves from Chilhowee.

After my recent experiences I started to seek a new pair of gloves. These may look simple however are anything but. Made from Deer skin and with a cotton lining they are incredibly comfortable, like no other glove I have ever worn.

The makers say Deer skin is more abrasion resistant than cow hide and also can be washed unlike leather gloves. The washing now and again is a probably a good idea in these days of pandemics however I would buy these again just for how they feel. They delivered a new level of comfort on that 800km ride I did recently.

They will be too warm to wear in our summer however now that I have experienced Deer skin I am going to look at the rest of the gloves on offer.

I think this is the turning point for me with how I shop for motorcycle rider apparel, I really need to take in to account my special needs for ultra comfortable gloves that do not irritate my skin - harder to get right than I realised.

These gloves cost me $29.95 US (+ shipping) and are really great values regardless of the exchange rate. Good service, good communication. For more info have a look at Chilhowee Motorcycle Leather

Despite some home renovation work I need to work on if we get a fine Winters day this weekend I am going to head out for a ride. I think the Tweed Valley might still be recovering from the recent floods so I may take another ride around the south west area and try capture some of the mountain views in the early morning. Should be clear air if this rain stops.

On my last trip south of Beaudesert I saw the skid marks where a Motorcycle Paradise reader was nearly wiped out by a drunk in a car. Keep alert and stay safe this long weekend. Regards IC.